Mitt Romney is scheduled to take the stage in Ames shortly for his second Iowa rally this week. This time he is supposedly giving a major policy speech on economic issues. He plans to be back in Davenport on Monday, the same day President Barack Obama’s campaign has scheduled rallies with First Lady Michelle Obama in Iowa City and Sioux City.
The two new polls released this week show Iowa is too close to call. A one-day survey by Rasmussen Reports on October 21 found Romney and Obama tied at 48 percent. Public Policy Polling’s latest Iowa survey for Health Care for America Now, conducted on October 23 and 24, found Obama ahead 49 percent to 47 percent, within the poll’s margin of error (full memo with questionnaire here).
I’ll update this post later with highlights from the Romney event. Meanwhile, any comments about the presidential race are welcome in this thread. UPDATE: Didn’t hear any new “major” economic policy initiatives, but excerpts from Romney’s speech are after the jump. Bleeding Heartland user ghbraves pointed out in the comments that a Gravis Marketing poll on October 24 showed Obama leading by 50 percent to 46 percent in Iowa (within the poll’s 4.3 percent margin of error).
Governor Terry Branstad and Senator Chuck Grassley were among the Iowa Republicans who warmed up the crowd of a few thousand people in Ames.
Radio Iowa’s O.Kay Henderson posted the full audio here.
Romney ridiculed President Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan of “forward” and he used the words change, changed, changes and changing 21 times in his 20-minute speech today to make the case – as Obama himself did in 2008 – that it’s time for a “change” election.
“It requires that we put aside the small and the petty and demand the scale of change we deserve,” Romney said. “We need real change, big change. That times has come.”
Romney promised that he and running mate Paul Ryan could “confront” the problems politicians “have avoided for over decade” – like the looming insolvency of Medicare and Social Security and the escalating national debt. […]
Romney’s event was held at Kinzler Construction Services in Ames. Democrats say the firm received $650,000 in Department of Energy contracts financed by the economic stimulus Romney criticized.
Jennifer Jacobs posted more from the rally:
“This is an election of consequence,” Romney told a crowd of about 3,500 who gathered for the outdoor rally despite chilling 40-degree weather. “Our campaign is about big things, because we happen to believe that America faces big challenges. We recognize this is a year with a big choice, and the American people want to see big changes. And together we can bring real change to this country.”
Romney was sharply critical of President Barack Obama and his campaign, saying the president shrinks from big things, and instead distracts voters with characters from Sesame Street, silly word games like “Romnesia,” and “misdirected personal attacks he knows are false.”
Obama regularly blames others for the troubled economy that he inherited, but “what he inherited wasn’t the only problem,” Romney said in a formal, scripted speech using teleprompter. “What he did with what he inherited made the problem worse.” […]
Romney’s speech today comes on the heels of a federal report this morning showing U.S. economic growth ticked up slightly in the third quarter. The country’s gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2 percent between July and September. […]
Romney called the GDP report discouraging, saying it’s less than half the 4.3 percent rate the White House projected after passing the stimulus bill. Slow economic growth means slow job growth and declining take-home pay, he told the Iowa audience.
SECOND UPDATE: Hilarious—the Des Moines Register editorial board endorsed Romney for president.
The Register’s editorial board, as it should, had a vigorous debate over this endorsement. Our discussion repeatedly circled back to the nation’s single most important challenge: pulling the economy out of the doldrums, getting more Americans back in the workforce in meaningful jobs with promising futures, and getting the federal government on a track to balance the budget in a bipartisan manner that the country demands.
Which candidate could forge the compromises in Congress to achieve these goals? When the question is framed in those terms, Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate. […]
That stimulus was necessary to bridge the nation from recession to recovery, but the time is past for more government stimulus.
Consumers must feel more confident about their own economic futures to begin spending on the products and services that power the economy. A renewed sense of confidence will spark renewed investment by American companies. Industry will return to full production and hiring will begin again.
That should come with Mitt Romney in the White House. […]
Throughout the campaign, he has expressed faith in the private sector to fuel a more robust economic recovery if it has more confidence that the federal government will not be an obstacle. Romney has a strategy for job growth through tax and regulatory relief for small businesses, encouraging all forms of domestic energy production, education that prepares graduates with job skills, expanding foreign trade and reducing the burden of federal deficits.
That formula, coupled with his business acumen, should unlock this nation’s economic potential.
Confidence fairy dust!
How many times has the Register editorialized against the Republican plan for transforming Medicare, or against trying to balance the federal budget through spending cuts alone? Never mind, Romney’s going to forge a bipartisan compromise now. But we sure hope he doesn’t follow through on all that stuff he’s promised to do.
Romney should not squander an opportunity to build consensus in Washington by wasting time on issues that animate many in his party. We cannot rewind the clock on progress for minorities, women, gays and lesbians. We must make it easier for immigrants to come here to live and work legally and stop making criminals of those who are living here lawfully, paying taxes and raising families. The federal government must continue to insist on clean air and water and encourage clean and renewable energy.
More fairy dust!
I don’t agree that the newspaper is punishing Obama for trying to keep an interview off the record earlier this week. I see this endorsement as an embarrassing display of “Look! No liberal bias!” from the publisher and editor:
The Register’s editorial board consists of Publisher Laura Hollingsworth, Editor Rick Green, Opinions Editor Randy Evans and editorial writers Rox Laird and Andie Dominick. After watching the two candidates over the past six years, interviewing them both at least twice, researching their positions and the issues and having conversations with Iowans, the five of us spent more than two hours before reaching a consensus. It was a vigorous and useful debate.
Of course, an editorial board is not a democracy. As publisher, Hollingsworth in principle has the authority to dictate the newspaper’s positions on every issue on our opinion pages. In practice, however, she and previous publishers have supported a collaborative process that includes debates, disagreements and concessions.
While not every member of the board may agree with every choice, our endorsements reflect thoughts from everyone at the table.
Picking Romney may also be a bit of a publicity stunt, because let’s face it, the national media would not have considered another Obama endorsement newsworthy.
Over the next nine days, the Register’s choice won’t sway many votes. In the long term, it won’t bring the newspaper any lasting respect among Iowa Republicans. But it is depressing when the Register’s endorsement process is so disconnected from positions the editors have previously taken.
Shorter DMR: Never mind everything we’ve told you about the the federal budget, taxes, health care reform, Medicare, environmental protection, civil rights, abortion rights, and immigration. Romney will make people feel better!